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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why our society is falling the f*** apart.

I have come to a conclusion recently about why our country is falling the fuck apart, and it's all tied into the fact that we've forgotten, as a group, the most basic rule of life.

Keep it simple.

We overcomplicate everything in our world. We think the answer to everything is extensive discourse, ad nauseum. This doesn't lead to anything except gross overreaction in most cases. Take the issue of bigotry in society, for example. Has anyone noticed that the more we talk about it, the more it's not getting better, and indeed is leading to rather disgusting examples of white people (who are so far removed from the plight of minorities that they can't possibly begin to relate) "defending" the poor, beleaguered minorities as if they can't defend themselves? This, my friends, is bigotry--an assumption that a person of another race, gender, or sexual proclivity requires your defense. Indeed, to many minorities such assumptions are as insulting and hurtful as more overtly negative forms of hate speech.

Morgan Freeman had the following to say regarding the issue on 60 minutes (check snopes - this is true):

MIKE WALLACE, CBS`s "60 MINUTES": Black History Month, you find...



FREEMAN: You`re going to relegate my history to a month?

WALLACE: Come on.

FREEMAN: What do you do with yours? Which month is White History Month? Come on, tell me.

WALLACE: I`m Jewish.

FREEMAN: OK. Which month is Jewish History Month?

WALLACE: There isn`t one.

FREEMAN: Why not? Do you want one?

WALLACE: No, no.

FREEMAN: I don`t either. I don`t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.

WALLACE: How are we going to get rid of racism until...?

FREEMAN: Stop talking about it. I`m going to stop calling you a white man. And I`m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You`re not going to say, "I know this white guy named Mike Wallace." Hear what I`m saying?

A southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, has a song that contains incredible advice from start to finish. It's advice we as a culture and society have completely lost, and desperately need to get back.  Let me put it forth here:

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this, it'll help you
Some sunny day

Just take your time, don't live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You'll find a woman, and you'll find love
And don't forget, son, there is someone up above

And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you'll love and understand
Baby, be a simple kind of man
Oh, won't you do this for me, son, if you can?

Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh, baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied

And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you'll love and understand
Baby, be a simple kind of man
Oh, won't you do this for me, son, if you can?

Boy, don't you worry, you'll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh, baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied

And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you'll love and understand
Baby, be a simple kind of man
Oh, won't you do this for me, son, if you can?

Now I don't doubt that someone is going to come along and be offended because they're an atheist and the song mentions "someone up above," or because they're gay and the song mentions "finding a woman," but those people are part of the problem. We as a society look for reasons to be pissed off and offended these days, and all we do, then, is scream about it on message boards and facebook.

That's kind of like getting on top of a building in the suburbs in the middle of the night and screaming incoherently at the top of your lungs for an hour. You're not accomplishing anything but irritating a lot of people.

You're also, in the case of the lyrics above, missing the point entirely because you're so busy looking for something to be pissed off about.

The point of those lyrics is that we don't need all this complicated shit society keeps heaping upon us every day. All we need is the basics. Keep it simple and you'll find yourself far happier than you are in pursuing mounds of "stuff" and "prestige." Even if you become rich and successful by some quirk of fate (or hard work) never forget where you come from, never forget that all you need is the basics, and never forget that life is a gift that we should all enjoy, regardless of whether this gift comes from a deity, the cosmos, or a quirk of genetics. The song was written by a straight man with a straight man's outlook, so of course it mentions finding a woman in conjunction with finding love, but it never makes any assumption that one can only find love in a heterosexual sense. The point is the "you'll find love" part.

And the fact that I had to take time out of this blog to defend that is sickening.

Faith is not bad. Nor is atheism. Where they both become problematic is when we get dogmatic about them and start trying to lord them over other people. Hell, even Christ admonished his followers to keep their religion behind closed doors and not to kneel and pray in public. The same goes for atheists. Who do you think you're convincing by announcing that your belief structure - be it supernatural or science-based - makes you better than someone else? What do you think you're accomplishing?

People need to get over themselves. Personally, I'm tired of politics and politicians. I'm tired of the religious and the atheists. I'm tired of reality TV celebrity culture. I'm tired of people criticizing movies and books because they're not complex and deep enough. I'm tired of people looking for things to get outraged about, but then not doing anything practical to try and effect change, as though bitching on facebook is enough.

And yes, I realize that on some level this blog is doing something similar. But in this case I'm not really trying to convince anyone of anything because everyone is so self-important about their mute self-righteous rage, trying to convince them is an exercise in futility.

Nope, I guess what I'm doing here is akin to the guy walking down the street with the "THE END IS NIGH" sandwich board. I think we're too far gone to go back. We're witnessing the burning of Rome, and our government is playing the fiddle and dancing in the streets while the rest of us are blissfully unaware and unwilling to be woken up.

Come to think of it, maybe that crazy "THE END IS NIGH" dude isn't so far off base.  I guess all I can do is try to take my own advice, keep things simple, enjoy what I've got and enjoy the gift of life I've got, and continue to do so until I no longer can.

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Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, and Mary Magdalene.

I'm not a mad bible thumper--Sophia, however, is my inspiration and always in my heart